Six month plan – Writer’s Table model

Whelp, we have officially wasted half a year. Only six month remain to make what we want to out of 2016. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not mad at myself for what I have/ haven’t achieved so far this year, but I can say I didn’t get as much done as I had hoped, particularly on the writing front, which means maybe a new tactic is in order.


I had the good fortune to meet Eleanor at a book signing tour in New Orleans in 2011

Luckily the latest newsletter from The Writer’s Table, from the charming and brilliant Eleanor Brown arrived with not only the reminder that the year is half done, but also a way to set realistic goals for the rest of the year.

The goals work backwards from the big picture to today, and I think this will be a technique I can really work with – because let’s be honest, part of my not accomplishing writing goals for the first half of 2016 was not having clearly defined goals. Hard to achieve goals when they consist mostly of a nebulous “I should write more.”

The questions Eleanor recommends you ask yourself when setting your 6 month goals are:

  1. Where would I like to be with my writing by the end of the year? [12/31/2016; 183 days away]*
  2. In order to achieve that goal, what do I need to have accomplished by Halloween? [10/31/2016; 122 days away]
  3. In order to make it there by Halloween, where do I need to be by Labor Day? [9/5/2016; 66 days away]
  4. In order to reach that Labor Day goal, what do you need to do right now? [7/1/2016; right now]

*Dates and # of days away are my own addition, to help me conceptualize this better. And I know this post is several days after 7/1/2016, but work with me here 😉

Upon reading the newsletter, I came up with these possible writing goals:

  • Time writing per day/week
  • Finish and begin submitting  Here There Be
  • Write and submit to critique group the Garret short story (to send to Writers of the Future in Spring)
  • Write first draft of Casey Watkins and the Missing Mascot
  • Complete second draft of Foxglove and Queen Anne’s Lace – find Gamma readers
  • Expand the Snow White inspired story to novel length
  • Get to halfway point of next draft of Divine Madness (1/2 point defined as 1) through second trail or 2) 60,000 words)

As you can see, I have too many writing goals to do them all in the next six months (or the last six months, which is probably why I stalled out). I have decided to focus on the two in purple text, one is polishing a short story, and beginning to send it out, the other is working on a second draft. I chose that one because it sounds difficult – I find generating story ideas and coming up with a first draft relatively easy – the part of my craft that I need the most work on is editing/ getting to the point of submission.

Wish me luck, and best wishes to all of you taking the opportunity of the new month to reevaluate goals.

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GenCon – tentative schedule achieved


One of my 38 things this year was to attend a convention with a strong writer’s track. Writer's Symposium

I have booked convention tickets for GenCon, arranged time off work, booked airline tickets and a hotel, found a roommate, and the last step in my pre-convention excitement, I have signed up for several of the seminars and two workshops (former are free, later cost a small amount) to keep me well occupied, and learning, from Thursday – Sunday.

So, here’s current schedule (subject to change):

Writer’s Craft: Eliciting Emotional Responses 11:00 AM
Writer’s Craft: Atmospheric Writing 12:00 PM
Writer’s Craft: Editing Your Work 1:00 PM
Writer’s Craft: When to Show, When to Tell 2:00 PM
Business of Writing: Professional Organizations (SFWA, IAMTW, & More) 3:00 PM
Writer’s Craft: Killing Off Characters 4:00 PM
Worldbuilding: When Your World is a Character 6:00 PM
Writer’s Craft: Novel Outlines & Synopsis 7:00 PM
Writer’s Craft: Finding Work for Your Inner Critic—Self-Editing for Fiction Writers 9:00 AM
Writer’s Craft: Rewrites & Second Drafts 11:00 AM
Writer’s Craft: Plot Design 12:00 PM
Writer’s Life: Breaking Writer’s Block 2:00 PM
Writer’s Life: Writer’s & Mental Health—You’re Not Alone 4:00 PM
Worldbuilding: Mythology 6:00 PM
Worldbuilding: Governments & Laws 7:00 PM
Character Craft: Character Voice 10:00 AM
Worldbuilding: Flora, Fauna, & the Natural World 11:00 AM
Worldbuilding: Writing a World’s History 12:00 PM
Writer’s Craft: Sustaining the Tension in Novels 1:00 PM
Writer’s Craft: Hickman’s Guide to the Care & Feeding of Your Audience 2:00 PM
Writer’s Craft: Magic and the Modern World 3:00 PM
Worldbuilding: Creating Religions 4:00 PM
Writer’s Craft: Is Your Story Ready to Sell? 5:00 PM
Special Event: Writing Excuses Podcast Recording LIVE! 6:00 PM
Character Craft: Build Them Up After Tearing Them Down 11:00 AM
Business of Writing: Schmoozing 101 12:00 PM


Writing ideas 2015

Someone in my extended writing tribe started a blog to track his writing projects for the year using mountain climbing as a metaphor. I thought it was a neat idea, and the part where he identified the projects he was going to work on to reach his particular word counts/ mountain heights resonated with me.

Now I have numerous lists of various works-in-progress at various stages, but I decided to drafted a new list of all the writing projects I was interested in working on and thought I could make real progress on this year. While I’m not dedicating an entire blog to my goals like Dave is, I am posting my list here so I can a) use it as a touchstone during the year and b) have outside accountability – because if I tell you, my fine readers, what I intend to work on, then there is a chance someone will ask how it’s going, aside from the nagging voice of guilt that has camped out in my mind.

writing_goalsSo, here is an updated version of the list I created last week. New additions are in gray so I can keep track of the original list, as well. Let the accountability begin.

  1. listen to Writing Excuses 10.1, do the homework  [do all of Writing Excuses Master Class exercises for 2015, post on CrushedMuffin]
  2. review critique notes from Whatever It Takes [~3150 words, urban fantasy(?)] , edit and try to find a home for it
  3. try to find a place to submit Sam, Unrequited [identify genre (psychological horror?), ~6,555 words] (Clarkesworld?)
  4. Devil’s Daughter – [urban fantasy novel] figure out character/plot a bit more (or just discovery write)
  5. Devil’s Daughter world based short story for Baen Fantasy contest (?)
  6. Foxglove and Queen Anne’s Lace– write second draft from outline [YA urban fantasy novel]
  7. Divine Madness – outline draft two (three, whatever) and write it [Epic/ Quest Fantasy novel]
  8. time travel story – outline, determine length, write [science fiction]
  9. The First Line prompts ? – evaluate if I want to write and submit
  10. Snow White retelling – outline for novel length [currently ~12,000 words, non-genre fiction, working title The Redford Reflection]
  11. Post a  piece of fiction each Wednesday on Presumed Human; try for new stories, not just posting old work as much as possible
  12. Participate in Alissa’s Finish That Thought contests as inspired (possible fodder for item 11)
  13. Participate in Chuck Wendig’s Friday Flash Fiction Challenge as inspired (possible fodder for item 11)